EA sports and the Collegiate Licensing Company have reached a settlement in which they have agreed to pay 200,000-300,000 former players $40 million for using their likeliness in videogames.
While the sports franchise never used players’ names in videogames, it would often show player bios in the games that would mimic their real life counterparts. For example, even though the game couldn’t identify someone by their name, they can use a player’s height, weight, hometown, skin tone, and hair color without their permission or compensation. Steve Berman, managing partner of the law firm Hagens Berman, who served as co-lead counsel in the class-action lawsuit brought by the players explained,
“When we filed the case, we felt very strongly that EA’s appropriation of student-athletes’ images for a for-profit venture was wrong, both in a legal sense and from a more fundamental moral perspective,” Berman said in a statement. “These guys were busting their butts on the field or the court trying to excel at athletics, oftentimes to help win or maintain scholarships so they could get an education.”
Beginning next year, EA Sports no longer will produce its popular “NCAA Football” game